Price will clearly be a factor, but you should decide what is important to you and ensure that you take these into account and avoid choosing the cheapest and then incur more cost down the line when you have problems.
Factors to consider:
- When can they collect your goods and when will they be able to deliver? Is the arrival time important to you or not? If you are going to be in temporary furnished accommodation while you look for a more permanent home you may not be able to take delivery until you have found the new home. Make sure any storage costs are included in all quotes and at both ends.
- What arrangements do they have to handle your goods at the destination? They may be strong in the UK, but do they use an agency or their own people at your destination? If they use an agency, make sure that they are also members of a reputable association that monitors standards and deals with any complaints.
- Special and delicate items – have they demonstrated a clear plan to protect any delicate or valuable items that you are shipping?
- Are you comparing like with like?
- Volumes – Have all quotes come out with similar volumes and, if not, try to identify what has caused the difference? Have any of them missed some items in a particular area (e.g. garden or loft) or has one of them included things that you do not plan to take with you? It is vital to be sure that the company you choose has a realistic assessment of the volume to be shipped.
- Shipping arrangements – Are your goods being shipped in a separate container or will they be consolidated with other people’s goods?
- Shipping times – Removal companies can save costs by choosing to send your container on a ship that will take longer to get to your destination. If timing is important to you, ensure that all of the quotes are based on a timing that best meets your requirements. If you are not in a hurry, make sure all of the quotes take that into account.
- Services – Make sure that they have included all costs. Have they included full packing and dismantling of furniture and then unpacking and reassembling at the other end? Have terminal and port handling charges and customs clearance been included? Have they included any charges such as parking or special equipment if there are any access restrictions.
- Service quality – Ensure that they are all members of the same industry associations and if there are differences, go to the associations’ websites to check what they require of their members and what they offer to users of the services.
- Destination services (customs clearance, transporting the goods to your home, unloading and unpacking) – Removal companies can provide destination services in one of three ways:
- Owned – Large international groups may own the company providing the destination services.
- Network – Many companies join one of the major global networks where independent companies have formed a network to provide other members of the network with regular destination services to an agreed standard.
- Overseas agent – Here your local company will have an agreement in place with a local agent to supply the destination services.
Whichever way your chosen company is providing the destination services, it is important to ensure that they are also a good quality company and are members of industry associations like your chosen removal company, with monitoring of service standards and complaints procedures. You should ensure that they have well-established arrangements as this will confirm that they are experienced in working together and that this is not the first time they have delivered to your destination,
Before you review the price comparison make sure you have taken account of all the costs, including insurance and any potential extras. For many, price will be the key determinant, but make sure that you do not allow price to result in you choosing the lowest quality service as delays and damaged goods can result in major stress, inconvenience and costs. Where there is no discernible difference in service, price can be the only way to make a choice. Where there is a clear difference, consider whether the value is worth the additional cost.
Once you have decided which company offers the best service and would be your preferred choice other than for its price, it is worth going back to them to see if they can improve their price. Having other quotes to refer to helps your case and they may be able to make changes that are not important to you to change their price. Ask them for any ideas to cut the costs, such as dates when they could collect at a lower cost. You can then make a final decision based on the quotes you have received and the service offered.
After all factors have been taken into account, the final decision will often come down to how you felt about the companies which have provided quotes. There are many good providers and if they are providing everything you need and the price is similar it will come down to the small things and how you have been dealt with by the people you have been in contact with.